Turkey right choice: Sneijder
Galatasaray midfielder Wesley Sneijder has said that his decision to leave Inter for the Turkish champions has been vindicated by their run to the Champions League quarter-finals. The Dutch international left the Serie A side in January to move to Istanbul. “I wanted to make a step forward, not back, after Inter and look where I am now: playing Real Madrid in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, so I think I made the right choice,” he told a press conference on Tuesday. Sneijder also said it would be a special experience to play against his old manager, Jose Mourinho. The two won the Champions League at the Santiago Bernabeu in 2010 with Inter, but he insists friendships would be set aside for one night at least. “Tomorrow [Wednesday] we are enemies, we are not friends any longer,” he said.
Italy face Argentina for pope
The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) on Tuesday announced plans for an August friendly in Rome with Argentina in honor of Pope Francis, who was elected head of the Catholic Church last month. “The FIGC today [Tuesday] officially invited the Argentine [Football] Federation,” it said in a statement. The idea to arrange a friendly between the two nations as a tribute to the Argentinia-born pope came from Italy manager Cesare Prandelli, who is Catholic. “It would be good to have an audience and to then go to the stadium in the same bus, the two teams together,” Prandelli said. The pope is a long-time supporter of Buenos-Aires based outfit San Lorenzo.
Stade Brestois 29 fire coach
Landry Chauvin on Tuesday told reporters he had been sacked as manager of relegation-threatened Ligue 1 outfit Stade Brestois 29. The 44-year-old — who had never coached a Ligue 1 side until he was hired by Brest last year — was sacked a couple of days after the 2-1 home defeat by LOSC Lille Metropole left them third from bottom, two points adrift of safety, but with eight games remaining. It is the second successive season that Brest have sacked their manager while battling against relegation.
Confused police arrest fans
Police arrested 17 local supporters of France’s national soccer team in the east of the country, mistaking their hoisted French flag for a bold separatist statement, police said yesterday. The men, illegal gold miners on Pulau Buru in the Muluku Islands Chain, raised the French flag in a street ahead of a World Cup qualifier between France and Spain last week. Police confused the French tricolor flag with the similar outlawed flag of the Republic of South Maluku (RMS) separatist movement. “The RMS flag looks exactly like the French flag, but it has an extra green stripe,” Buru Island police spokesman Istanto told reporters.
Liverpool to go Down Under
Premier League club Liverpool will play their first match in Australia on July 24 when they meet Melbourne Victory in a pre-season friendly at the 100,000 capacity Melbourne Cricket Ground, the A-League team said yesterday. Liverpool have a huge following in Australia and a bumper crowd is expected for the match. “Liverpool is one of the most famous clubs on the planet and the fact that they’ve opted to play Melbourne Victory on their first ever tour to Australia is great recognition for our club and the progress we’ve made in our short history,” said Anthony di Pietro, chairman of the eight-year-old club.